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Thread: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

  1. #1
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    Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Hi all. My name is Joe and I run a small livestock operation in Washington State, pigs mainly. As my operation has grown I have run into a problem: gates that are available for purchase in my area are of poor quality and don't hold up as needed. I have tried seeking out a manufacturer to no avail, and the local welding shop is prohibitively expensive. So, I need to learn to do it myself.

    Of course, getting into a new trade like this requires a steep learning curve at the start and that means lots of questions which is why I'm here.

    My first question, naturally, is which welder will best suit my needs. I believe my ideal tool would be capable of both mig and stick, and plug into a 110v outlet. Unable to find this one, the next best option seems to be the Hobart Handler 140. I was going to buy it, when I learned that these don't always function properly on a standard 110v, due to the fact that they can trip a breaker if the amperage is set too high. The odds of me hiring an electrician to solve this problem is unlikely, because that would likely make the whole project economically unfeasible. So next I'm looking at using alternative circuits than a 110 into a 20 amp breaker.

    My first thought was to use the circuit that my freezer is on, a 110v, 20a, but then I realized that may not be enough. Next I looked at using another existing circuit, like the one for the dryer (220v on a 30a, if memory serves), or the one for the stove, a 220v and 50a breaker. Obviously that would solve the amperage problem, but then I would need a special extension cord, and the receptacles may not match up. I also looked at my generator which has both 110v and 220v on a 30a breaker. This may be another option, but again it depends on the receptacle and amperage needs for a 220v welder.

    I have several 110v 20a circuits I could dedicate temporarily to a welding job, if the tool will function properly on that circuit, but again, I'm not sure that it will.

    Your experience and advice would be very much appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Hi Coal,

    yer kinda in a pickle.

    A 240v machine is always a better bang for the buck BUT I imagine you'll need to be portable with gate/fence repairs.

    Low end 120v Fluxcore only machine from HF gets a good review here.
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/7...inverter+stick

    it would run off the generator you have.


    The HH140 would run off it as well and also allow for MIG welding in the shop. If you have a dedicated 20amp circuit it will work fine.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Yea, there are no 100v machine that would require more than a 20A circuit and for welding, "Gate Material", it's all you're likely to need from a MIG welder (like that 125 HF Titanium, it'd be perfect for that...)

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Creek View Post
    Hi all. My name is Joe and I run a small livestock operation in Washington State, pigs mainly. As my operation has grown I have run into a problem: gates that are available for purchase in my area are of poor quality and don't hold up as needed. I have tried seeking out a manufacturer to no avail, and the local welding shop is prohibitively expensive. So, I need to learn to do it myself.

    Of course, getting into a new trade like this requires a steep learning curve at the start and that means lots of questions which is why I'm here.

    My first question, naturally, is which welder will best suit my needs. I believe my ideal tool would be capable of both mig and stick, and plug into a 110v outlet. Unable to find this one, the next best option seems to be the Hobart Handler 140. I was going to buy it, when I learned that these don't always function properly on a standard 110v, due to the fact that they can trip a breaker if the amperage is set too high. The odds of me hiring an electrician to solve this problem is unlikely, because that would likely make the whole project economically unfeasible. So next I'm looking at using alternative circuits than a 110 into a 20 amp breaker.

    My first thought was to use the circuit that my freezer is on, a 110v, 20a, but then I realized that may not be enough. Next I looked at using another existing circuit, like the one for the dryer (220v on a 30a, if memory serves), or the one for the stove, a 220v and 50a breaker. Obviously that would solve the amperage problem, but then I would need a special extension cord, and the receptacles may not match up. I also looked at my generator which has both 110v and 220v on a 30a breaker. This may be another option, but again it depends on the receptacle and amperage needs for a 220v welder.

    I have several 110v 20a circuits I could dedicate temporarily to a welding job, if the tool will function properly on that circuit, but again, I'm not sure that it will.

    Your experience and advice would be very much appreciated!
    I had a HH140 for YEARS. It never tripped the breaker, and I usually ran it wide open. They're very good machines for the price. Limited on material thickness, but good machines.

    I'm thinking that if you're limited on amperage from your outlets, it might just be the time to get one of the new fangled inverter stick machines. Stick is more versatile. Again...........if you have the budget, buy one of the good brands.

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Unless you get into expensive multi-process machines you're not going to find a welder that will handle both MIG and stick...just FYI.

    Of all the options you mentioned, making an extension cord to use the dryer outlet is probably going to work the best. You may have to make the extension cord, but that's not really complicated or terribly expensive. The female end of the extension cord would have a 6-50 NEMA outlet for the welder and the male side would just be whatever matches the dryer outlet now. The wire would be SO, SOW, SOOW, SOJW or something similar...all are fairly similar service cable that will work and 10ga would be fine for 30A, but I'd suggest 8ga in case you wind up getting a more powerful machine later.

    No matter how high quality a welder is it can only put out so much power from a given input so 110V welders are limited to relatively thin material. Yes, someone who really knows what they're doing can push them pretty far, but that isn't what you're dealing with at this point. Struggling to have enough heat isn't what you want to do with MIG...it just leads to really weak welds, even if they look halfway decent.
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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Millermatic 211 and the dryer extension cord.


    How is it you have enough land for critters and there's no electricity in the garage or shed ?


    If you have an electrical panel outside in the shop or garage, putting in a 220 breaker, wire and outlet is dead simple and cheap.

    Probably cheaper than the run of wire it takes to get it out of the house and close to your work area.


    Wall Mountain Flux core and Mig videos

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  9. #7
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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Hobart is good brand and I had a few Hobarts over years. But 120 volt welders likes flipping the breaker.
    I would recommend a 240 volt welder for long term use.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Creek View Post
    Hi all. My name is Joe and I run a small livestock operation in Washington State, pigs mainly. As my operation has grown I have run into a problem: gates that are available for purchase in my area are of poor quality and don't hold up as needed. I have tried seeking out a manufacturer to no avail, and the local welding shop is prohibitively expensive. So, I need to learn to do it myself.

    Of course, getting into a new trade like this requires a steep learning curve at the start and that means lots of questions which is why I'm here.

    My first question, naturally, is which welder will best suit my needs. I believe my ideal tool would be capable of both mig and stick, and plug into a 110v outlet. Unable to find this one, the next best option seems to be the Hobart Handler 140. I was going to buy it, when I learned that these don't always function properly on a standard 110v, due to the fact that they can trip a breaker if the amperage is set too high. The odds of me hiring an electrician to solve this problem is unlikely, because that would likely make the whole project economically unfeasible. So next I'm looking at using alternative circuits than a 110 into a 20 amp breaker.

    My first thought was to use the circuit that my freezer is on, a 110v, 20a, but then I realized that may not be enough. Next I looked at using another existing circuit, like the one for the dryer (220v on a 30a, if memory serves), or the one for the stove, a 220v and 50a breaker. Obviously that would solve the amperage problem, but then I would need a special extension cord, and the receptacles may not match up. I also looked at my generator which has both 110v and 220v on a 30a breaker. This may be another option, but again it depends on the receptacle and amperage needs for a 220v welder.

    I have several 110v 20a circuits I could dedicate temporarily to a welding job, if the tool will function properly on that circuit, but again, I'm not sure that it will.

    Your experience and advice would be very much appreciated!
    Last edited by smithdoor; 10-25-2021 at 05:26 PM.

  10. #8
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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    A lunchbox stick welder gives you the most bang-for-the-buck, the drawback being they don't display the correct amperage that is being set by the user.
    1st on WeldingWeb to have a scrolling sig!



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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    I would recommend Flux core no gas E71T-11 or E71T-GS 0.030 [0.8mm]
    It most flexibility for welding most work.
    It is easy to learn. The biggest problem most have is the stickout. Most small wire size only needs stickout of 3/8" to 1/2" [8mm to 12.5mm]

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Creek View Post
    Hi all. My name is Joe and I run a small livestock operation in Washington State, pigs mainly. As my operation has grown I have run into a problem: gates that are available for purchase in my area are of poor quality and don't hold up as needed. I have tried seeking out a manufacturer to no avail, and the local welding shop is prohibitively expensive. So, I need to learn to do it myself.

    Of course, getting into a new trade like this requires a steep learning curve at the start and that means lots of questions which is why I'm here.

    My first question, naturally, is which welder will best suit my needs. I believe my ideal tool would be capable of both mig and stick, and plug into a 110v outlet. Unable to find this one, the next best option seems to be the Hobart Handler 140. I was going to buy it, when I learned that these don't always function properly on a standard 110v, due to the fact that they can trip a breaker if the amperage is set too high. The odds of me hiring an electrician to solve this problem is unlikely, because that would likely make the whole project economically unfeasible. So next I'm looking at using alternative circuits than a 110 into a 20 amp breaker.

    My first thought was to use the circuit that my freezer is on, a 110v, 20a, but then I realized that may not be enough. Next I looked at using another existing circuit, like the one for the dryer (220v on a 30a, if memory serves), or the one for the stove, a 220v and 50a breaker. Obviously that would solve the amperage problem, but then I would need a special extension cord, and the receptacles may not match up. I also looked at my generator which has both 110v and 220v on a 30a breaker. This may be another option, but again it depends on the receptacle and amperage needs for a 220v welder.

    I have several 110v 20a circuits I could dedicate temporarily to a welding job, if the tool will function properly on that circuit, but again, I'm not sure that it will.

    Your experience and advice would be very much appreciated!

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    A lunchbox stick welder gives you the most bang-for-the-buck, the drawback being they don't display the correct amperage that is being set by the user.
    Real ones do.

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    When do you need to "read" the correct amperage with a stick welder? If in the vicinity or not of desired amperage, then I just move the knob without looking?

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Quote Originally Posted by tapwelder View Post
    When do you need to "read" the correct amperage with a stick welder? If in the vicinity or not of desired amperage, then I just move the knob without looking?
    Stop with that nonsense! Can't you see that your method would eliminate an entirely valid segment of internet forum arguments altogether? The horror....
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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Thanks everyone for all of the great advice!

    Broccoli1: Luckily, no, I shouldn't need to be portable. The gate design I have in my would have one clamp on hinge so they could be built in shop and transported to the installation. Or, taken off easily for repair.

    BaTu: Not often someone recommends a Harbor Freight tool. I'll look into it.

    G-Man, Count: This is an option that makes sense to me. I could definitely build that extension cord. I'll look into the Millermatic 211. Unfortunately, the property is old and was neglected by the former owner. So, no power in the out buildings.

    To people commenting about the HH140: I do have a dedicated 20a 110v outlet. However, I am again running into the same thing here. Some people say they work great, others say they trip breakers.

    Dave: I had considered going flux only as well. I'll look further into that.

    Oscar: Lunchbox stick welder is a new one for me. I'll look into it.

    It occurred to me that it might help if people had a basic sense about what my gates will look like. The best gate currently I own is made of 13 gauge galvanized steel tubing made by Lifetime Gate Co (out of business, unfortunately). I recently had a heifer try to bust out of this gate and she barely dented it. My thought is to use 11 gauge steel 1" square for the framing, and an additional 11 gauge steel plate welded on to that. Then I would paint it black.

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    I've heard lots of good things about the HH140, and even some of the Harbor freight flux core. I'm just going to add to the confusion, and recommend the PrimeWeld MIG160-- 160-Amp Flux Core MIG Welder as a really good choice if your just starting out , and have limited funds, and limited electrical service. Comes with mig gun, and a stinger cable for stick welding
    https://primeweld.com/products/mig16...ore-mig-welder

    When my Lincoln 210MP mig welder stopped working, and I needed something portable to use right away, and this seemed to fit the bill. It comes with a 1lb. spool of Kiswell fluxcore 0.030" wire. It does a great job on 120vac welding flux core up to 11ga.(1/8") . The first job I used it on was a rolling ladder for loading dumpsters, made from 1" tubing, mostly 11ga. and brackets for casters that are 3/16" thick. The flux core worked well on the rusty , painted, and plated parts. It also works well as a stick welder even on 120vac power. I was able to use 3/32", and 1/8" electrodes on 120vac. No it doesn't like 6010, but it will run everything else as well as my 210mp did. On a 240vac circuit I was able to to lay down 2 or 3 sticks of 5/32" 6013 and 7014, and it seemed plenty hot. Strangely , it comes with a gas hose, but no regulator. I used a 5 lb. CO2 cylinder for about two weeks that I had it, and still had some leftover. Regulator, and a tank might cost about another $100 if you want to try MIG. It was a handy machine, the 2 downsides for me were it only took 2lb spools, the gun wasn't detachable(easily). I liked how light it was , and was really impressed by how well it stick welded, and even got pressed into service as a scratch start tig on some 16 ga. stainless in a pinch. After 2 weeks I decided to send it back. When I called to return it , they asked why, I told them the above, and also that there was no connection for a spool gun. He told me he would accept the return(less than 90 days full refund), then sent me a prepaid return label for UPS to return the welder. I printed the label and sent the machine back. The refund showed up in my account 4 days later, we're both in NJ, and I returned it on a Thursday. I kind of miss the unit because it was so light, and really ran a great bead for such a cheap unit. The gun was a little cheaply made but fully functional, it reminds me of my first really cheap italian mig. I believe the parts are binzel , or trafimet, but my Lincoln tips fit OK. It comes with a 3 year warranty and they pickup the shipping if in the US . They always seem to answer the phone, and are very polite to answer simple questions. Just my opinion/impression of the unit, if I was starting out I would've preferred this to an stick only welder, or a transformer mig machine. I think it would be more than enough to build some pens, gates , guards, ladders , stairs etc. etc. any thing less than 1/4" thick steel.

    Hope this helps

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    One more question before I sign off for the night. If I bought an HH140, plugged it into a dedicated 110v 20a outlet, cranked it up to 10 and found it tripping the breaker, then couldn't I run it off one of my generator's 110v 30a outlets to solve the problem?

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Forney welding manufacturer on some welders suggest using 30 amp circuit.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Creek View Post
    One more question before I sign off for the night. If I bought an HH140, plugged it into a dedicated 110v 20a outlet, cranked it up to 10 and found it tripping the breaker, then couldn't I run it off one of my generator's 110v 30a outlets to solve the problem?

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Creek View Post
    One more question before I sign off for the night. If I bought an HH140, plugged it into a dedicated 110v 20a outlet, cranked it up to 10 and found it tripping the breaker, then couldn't I run it off one of my generator's 110v 30a outlets to solve the problem?
    That's definitely the way to go

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    from the Hobart site :
    https://www.hobartwelders.com/equipm...hoC6IEQAvD_BwE
    See review section.

    Question : I have read this is not an inverter welder - Can it be ran off of Generator power to make a mobile welding unit?

    Answer : Verified Reply - Tech
    This is an transformer base unit and can run off a generator with a minimum 4000 continuous watts of power output

    Not all generators live up to their specs, especially some of the no name cheap ones.
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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Creek View Post

    Oscar: Lunchbox stick welder is a new one for me. I'll look into it.
    Even though they are not what someone would use in a real shop, nor is there a dedicated support network, the power that can be stuffed into a small, inverter-based "lunchbox" stick welder is pretty good, considering that they weigh next to nothing! I got these on Amazon. The bigger one is a "195" amp stick welder, but in reality produces somewhere in the vicinity of 160A when plugged into a 240V outlet if I recall. That's enough to do some real damage to 5/16" or even 3/8" thick steel using a E6011 rod that digs deep. Cost is $120 on Amazon. The smaller one is the size of large hamburger, weighs 4.4 lbs, produces ~95A on 120V input power and ~115A on 240V input power. Enough to run 1/8" E6011s and 3/32" E7018s (1/8" E7018s when on 240V outlet). $80 on Amazon.

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    You'd be as well buying a "real" lunchbox welder from even harborfreight or whatever, at least you'd have a warranty to return it with.

    The amazon cheapies range from ok (like Oscar's ones) to absolutely shockingly poor and not built to any standard whatsoever.

    The good ones weld really nice and easily and are very good on poor power supplies. Definitely better than the equivelent transformer with a wind-up handle.
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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    My first question, naturally, is which welder will best suit my needs. I believe my ideal tool would be capable of both mig and stick, and plug into a 110v outlet.


    If the your nervous buying from a smaller less well known company like Primeweld, Lincoln has an offering also.

    POWER MIG® 140 MP® Multi-Process Welder
    This multiprocess capable unit that is lightweight and portable connects to 120V household power and is an excellent choice for MIG, DC TIG, Stick and Flux-Cored welding.

    Versatile Performance- Multiprocess unit capable of MIG welding 30-140 amps, DC TIG welding 10-120 amps, and Stick welding 25-90 amps.
    Easy to use- Simple two knob operation for controlling wire feed speed and voltage. Single button allows for easy process selection changes.
    Compact Design- Lightweight and portable at 34.5 lbs. Conveniently plugs into household 120V power.
    Features
    Versatile Performance
    Easy To Use
    Compact Design


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    https://www.lincolnelectric.com/en/Products/k4498-1

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  30. #22
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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    That a good welder if runs on 240volt too.
    For me the three top welders are Hobart, Miller and Lincoln.
    I did own a Miller that ran on 120volt 20 amp plug it welded great till breaker flip.

    Today I have Chicago 170 that works on 240 volt great but light duty.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by albrightree View Post

    If the your nervous buying from a smaller less well known company like Primeweld, Lincoln has an offering also.

    POWER MIG® 140 MP® Multi-Process Welder
    This multiprocess capable unit that is lightweight and portable connects to 120V household power and is an excellent choice for MIG, DC TIG, Stick and Flux-Cored welding.

    Versatile Performance- Multiprocess unit capable of MIG welding 30-140 amps, DC TIG welding 10-120 amps, and Stick welding 25-90 amps.
    Easy to use- Simple two knob operation for controlling wire feed speed and voltage. Single button allows for easy process selection changes.
    Compact Design- Lightweight and portable at 34.5 lbs. Conveniently plugs into household 120V power.
    Features
    Versatile Performance
    Easy To Use
    Compact Design


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    https://www.lincolnelectric.com/en/Products/k4498-1

    Regards

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coal Creek View Post
    Thanks everyone for all of the great advice!


    It occurred to me that it might help if people had a basic sense about what my gates will look like. The best gate currently I own is made of 13 gauge galvanized steel tubing made by Lifetime Gate Co (out of business, unfortunately). I recently had a heifer try to bust out of this gate and she barely dented it. My thought is to use 11 gauge steel 1" square for the framing, and an additional 11 gauge steel plate welded on to that. Then I would paint it black.
    Always leave a weep hole in the low spot on the bottoms of every joint.

    You think water can't get in, but it will. Then it gathers to rust or freeze.

    There is an Amish in my local area that galvanize dips gates and everything for cheap cash rates.
    If you go that route, don't cap anything. It needs free flow access.

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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Quote Originally Posted by BaTu View Post
    Yea, there are no 100v machine that would require more than a 20A circuit and for welding, "Gate Material", it's all you're likely to need from a MIG welder (like that 125 HF Titanium, it'd be perfect for that...)
    There are plenty of 120 volt welders that need more than 20 amps to use the high end that is available on 120 volt. They can/will pop a dedicated 20 like no tomorrow.

    You would think that since it has a 15 or 20 amp cord and 20 amp is the largest 120 volt circuit your usually going to find unless run exclusively for the welder that it will run full amps off that 20 amp 120 volt but usually not the case.

    Many take 25 or even a 30 to not trip but #12's may still be fine that the 20 amp used because of the duty cycle of the machine allowing for wire to cool while machine is cooling. Not any way I like to wire things but if that is all you got and must get it to work you can and be relatively safe to do even though not standard procedure for wiring anything else.

    Like that 140 Lincoln mig. Only good for 90 amps with 20 amp 120 volt outlet.

    https://www.lincolnelectric.com/asse...oln3/IM884.pdf

    Requirements For Rated Output
    A power cord with a 15 amp, 125 volt, three prong
    plug (NEMA Type 5-15P) is factory installed on the
    Pro-MIG 140. Connect this plug to a mating grounded
    receptacle which is connected to a 20 amp branch circuit with a nominal voltage rating of 115 to 125 volts,
    60 Hertz, AC only.
    The rated output with this installation is 90 amps,19
    Volts, 20% duty cycle (2 minutes of every 10 minutes
    used for welding)
    Last edited by danielplace; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:00 PM.

  33. #25
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Re: Need to Learn Welding, best tool for my needs?

    Unless they've changed, that 140 Lincoln was 115 volts only. I won one and traded up to the 180C before I left the building so I could get 230 input. I borrowed a 140 from my buddy before I got mine and found that you really needed a 30 amp breaker to do any serious welding. I could trip a 20. Compared to what Oscar is showing, I can't say they are really light and portable for running up ladders etc. Seems to me we're talking 60 to 70 lbs without gas. If you're running off the tailgate of your truck that's not bad, but up on a roof I'd be thinking twice. Definitely more welder there though....
    Last edited by whtbaron; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:19 PM.
    250 amp Miller DialArc AC/DC Stick
    F-225 amp Forney AC Stick
    230 amp Sears AC Stick
    Lincoln 180C MIG
    Victor Medalist 350 O/A
    Cut 50 Plasma
    Les

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